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Namibia Horse Safari Company

Mercurial Mercury



milky way, night skies
Namib Desert Night Sky with the Milky Way

When next on safari, in some remote corner of our enigmatic desert, ask Andrew to point out the ‘mercurial’ planet Mercury.  If you’re riding in April or May, Mercury’s shadowy form appears in the western afterglow of the setting sun, when the light has almost dissipated.  To catch a glimpse of the unpredictable planet in June or July, when it appears in the east, you will have to get up about an hour and a half before sunrise. #worthit


The word mercurial - subject to sudden or unpredictable changes of mood or mind - captures the essence of Hermes (the Greek version of Mercury) in his (yes a masculine planet) slow rotation, but fast revolution, closest of all planets to the sun.   Young, quick and lively, the fickle messenger of the gods, with his winged sandals and serpent-enwrapped caduceus, lives in the margins of life, of consciousness, betwixt and between the worlds.  




Hermes, Mercury
Hermes - Mercury, messenger of the gods

Hermes is the interpreter of extra-sensual experiences of those exploring the deeper mysteries of life, pointing out the path to ascending and descending souls with his caduceus which contains all knowledge.  Sages sequestered themselves in deserts where mystery is vital and alive - where they could discover that which is Causal to this bewildering world of effects.    


Hermes offers a voyage of discovery like none other - to the ‘other’ pole of the world where we find, to our utter amazement, all our carefully preserved perspectives no longer hold true.  That is when we discover the ‘art’ of the Hermeneutic task - the interpretation of a subjective experience of what was objectively real and not part of this world of ‘things’.  


And it is ‘art’ because we find we don’t have words vital enough to express such an experience -  images somehow just don’t quite capture the moment of experience.  We are, in effect, tongue-tied.


Here, in these inscrutable landshapes, we can discover the myth of our own times - ‘times’ which have uprooted us from the deeper mysteries of life.  Here we can rediscover the rhizome we sprang from, and - with pale Mercury’s help - follow the stream back to the Ocean.  




mercury, night skies, desert skies
Mercury, the elusive planet

Here, where all that is ‘superfluous’  has been removed,  we are able to stay present, able to turn off the exterior critical thought processes and, in doing so, observe the seeming emptiness, listen to the silence.  And wait for the echo.   


To those who don’t find deserts soul-less places, time spent in them is precious, timeless and never forgotten.

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